A dish from Bacalar.
Jessica Attie

Bacalar's menu has several global influences. 

Yucatán Peninsula-Inspired Mexican Restaurant Bacalar Opens in Austin, Texas

Executive Chef/Partner Gabe Erales and Urbanspace Hospitality announced that Bacalar will open for dinner on Saturday, September 16. Inspired by the vast diversity of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, the neighborhood restaurant pays homage to the origins of Erales’ family throughout the peninsula and his time there. Celebrating comida milpera, the interconnectedness of all things that enable the Bacalar experience, the restaurant’s menu draws inspiration from Mexico’s milpa agriculture system and honors an ethos of deep-rooted relationships with farmers, suppliers, and partners. 
“I am excited to honor and showcase the food diversity of the Yucatán region of Mexico, which is currently not as widely known as other places like Mexico City or Oaxaca,” says Chef Gabe Erales. “Our vision for Bacalar is for it to not only serve as restaurant where food memories are created, but also an institution where guests are educated on ingredients, techniques, and the many diasporas that provide a foundation for the cuisine.”
Overlooking Lady Bird Lake in Austin’s Rainey Street Historic District, the two-story restaurant features two bars, two expansive patios with outdoor seating, a lounge area, and a private dining room for 18. Thoughtful design elements employed by Urbanspace Principal Merrill Alley are inspired by nature and the rich Maya culture of the Yucatán. Bacalar’s upscale setting and menu are complemented by a casual walk-up window where Tómalo Taqueria lives. Connected to Bacalar and designed to let nature be the dining room, Tómalo, which will open later this fall, will offer laid-back Mexican cuisine all day, every day for active locals to enjoy. Highlighting additional dimensions of the Yucatán, including its street food, Tómalo offers beverages and handheld items not found on Bacalar’s menu.
“At Urbanspace, our expertise is in acquiring and developing best-in-class real estate while being passionate about building communities in the spaces we own and develop,” says Urbanspace CEO/Founder Kevin Burns. “With the genuine care that Chef Gabe and his team have for the Austin community, we know that Bacalar will be a wonderful addition to our city’s adored Rainey Street.”
On the Menu 
Inspired by the global influences of the Yucatán, Lebanese, Spanish, and Caribbean cultures, Bacalar’s menu highlights the nuances of each distinctive heritage. Menu items – many of which are designed to be shared – include highlights like Sikil Pak (Pumpkin Seed Salsa, Squash Pickles, Tostadas), Bacalao (Salt Cod Fritters, Chiltomate), Seasonal Tamal (Masa Quebrada, Pipian Verde), TIkin Xic (Golden Tilefish, Recado Rojo, Smoked Plantain), Cochinita Pibil (Heritage Pork Shoulder and Belly, Recado Rojo), and Frijol con Puerco (Heirloom Beans, Lechon, Masa Dumplings). The dessert menu is led by Executive Pastry Chef Natalie Gazaui and includes standouts like Edam Cheesecake with Marquesita and Seasonal Fruit, and Mamey Panna Cotta with Plxtle Ice Cream.
The beverage program, helmed by Dragan Milivojevic, is heavily focused on regional agave spirits and uncommonly found Yucatan ingredients such as lima, sour orange and mamey. Creative signature cocktails include Abeja Reina (Las Californias Citrico, Kumquat, Lime Juice, Xtabentun Honey Liqueur, Saline, Honey Foam) and Hellote (Carabuena Blanco infused with Corn, Nixta, Dry Vermouth, Cocchi Americano, Saline, Orange Bitter). Wine Director Kaitlin Neve has created an exciting list of new and old world wines, and the by-the-glass menu maintains an exclusive focus on wines from Mexico. 
Tómalo Taqueria, which will open later this fall, has a selection well-suited for grab-and-go or a quick bite. Serving up tacos, tortas, agua frescas, and coffee seven days a week, menu highlights at the walk-up eatery will include Tacos of Egg and Valladolid-style Longaniza and a Torta of Huevos Motulenos for breakfast, and Flame-Roasted Al Pastor from the trompo, Lechon y Chicharron, Duck Relleno Negro and Chilibul (Maya style succotash) for dinner. Here, guests will also find sweet treats like traditional style Marquesitas by Chef Natalie Gazaui. Beverage standouts at Tómalo include Cafe de Olla, Flor de Jamaica, Horchata y Coco, and Pina y Chaya Agua Frescas.
The Space 
Designed by Merrill Alley and her team at Urbanspace, Bacalar was imagined with the beauty of the Yucatan in mind, bringing the outdoors in. Ancient Maya stone carvings and symbolic imagery serve as the backbone of Bacalar’s branding, a graphic style that’s subtly found its way into the space in the form of various pieces of art, like a historic stone carving discovered by Merrill and Gabe on a sourcing trip to Merida (artist unknown), a sculptural wall relief by local artist Brandon Mike, and the graphic cowhide rugs designed by our team and produced by Yerra Rugs.
Spirituality is a major pillar in Maya and Mexican culture, specifically the notion that there’s more to the human experience than what meets the eye. This multidimensional approach is emulated throughout the space, where guests can find beauty in the details. With careful consideration of balancing elements such as ceiling heights, types of seating, and flow of the 6700 square foot interior and 2500 square foot exterior space, the thoughtfully designed environment serves as the perfect vehicle to complement Chef Gabe Erales’ food.
“Bacalar is the coming together of Urbanspace and Gabe and the aesthetic is directly informed by this partnership,” shares Merrill Alley. “It is a Yucatan inspired restaurant on the ground floor of a modern condo tower, so we were really intentional about trying to strike the right balance between modern, handmade, and natural elements used throughout the space.”
In addition to a private dining space that accommodates up to 16 people, Bacalar’s two-story dining room seats 104. Two covered outdoor patios offer additional seating for 96 guests.
Additional Details
Bacalar is open Sunday through Thursday from 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, and on Friday & Saturday from 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm. Once open in the fall, Tómalo Taqueria will operate daily from 9:00 am – 9:00 pm. 
Bacalar accepts reservations via Resy and welcomes walk-ins on a first come, first served basis. Weekend brunch details will be announced soon.

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